In the face of the on-going energy crisis and rising energy bills, schools, colleges, and universities are under increasing pressure to reduce operational costs. Colin Lawson, Head of Market Intelligence at Tamlite Lighting says small changes can make a big difference with retrofitting the key to success.
Rising wholesale prices, gas shortages, and suppliers ceasing to trade have all played a role in creating a perfect storm for the energy sector. Sadly, there is no end in sight with energy bills predicted to remain high for months to come. The latest humanitarian tragedy of the terrible war in Ukraine is quickly magnifying these stresses, as the geopolitical fallout from that manifests via embargos and practical supply chain disruptions.
For those responsible for the management and operation of buildings in the education sector, the energy crisis is causing a huge headache. Such is the scale of the issue, a recent report highlighted the impact it is already having, with one school reporting its energy bill had increased by £67,000 in the last financial year.
Of course, the rising cost of energy is taking place against the need for schools to decarbonise. Whilst some will be looking towards innovative low carbon technologies to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions, there are far simpler, and more cost-effective measures that can be taken.
Lighting is one of the most fundamental building services, but it is a major source of energy consumption and carbon emissions. Yet small changes can make a big difference. And in this instance, retrofitting is the key to success.
The ability of LED technology to reduce energy consumption by two-thirds or more, as well as being able to greatly increase product lifespans, is now universally accepted. As well as generating savings of between 60% to 80%, upgrades should be viewed as a key component of any energy saving and decarbonisation strategy.
As the need for building systems to perform both effectively and cost-effectively has become more acute, so has the demand for control solutions that allow users to get the most out of their systems. Intelligent lighting control systems add a level of flexibility that is vital. For example, installing PIR sensors ensures that lights are not used when the room is unoccupied, by dimming or switching off the fittings, whilst daylight dimming reduces the output of the luminaires when natural light levels increase.
Beyond that, a network which connects all the light fittings and sensors to a centralised control system makes it much easier for building and facilities managers to make informed decisions about how the space is being used. By tracking energy usage, they can make changes to lighting schedules and settings and identify further ways in which consumption can be reduced.
A well-designed lighting scheme also goes a long way to creating a pleasant learning environment. Teaching spaces are now more dynamic and more human-centric. Installing intuitive LED lighting in education establishments is fully supportive of the performance, creativity, mood and function of both students and teachers, and ensures that those who work under human-centric light can feel more invigorated and positive.
Retrofitting buildings with modern, efficient lighting systems could be seen by many as a complex and time-consuming affair. Engaging with a lighting specialist who can provide expert guidance and a broad range of the latest products remains the most effective fast-track to a lighting solution that saves money and aligns with sustainability and wellbeing goals, all within budget.